Business people in China are growing increasingly frustrated with internet restrictions within the country, according to this article in the New York Times. In a recent poll of 106 businesses, 86% of respondents said they had been negatively affected by the blocking of certain websites and online tools by what is known, quite hilariously, as the Great Firewall. This issue affects more than just businesses in China, as it makes it difficult or companies elsewhere to interact and conduct business with companies based there.
Starting in late 2014, even gmail, the world’s largest email service, was only accessible through a VPN. You can imagine what an obstacle not having access to such a service could be for a company or an individual. And when China began cracking down on VPNs, access to the service became even more difficult. Such hurdles are causing companies to avoid setting up locations in China. From the article: “The [European Union Chamber of Commerce in China] found that 13 percent of survey respondents had recently deferred investing more in research and development in China, or had been unwilling to set up those operations here, since restrictions grew at the beginning of the year.”
The American Chamber of Commerce had similar findings. 80% of the 477 respondents to a pole they conducted said their companies were suffering negative effects from China’s tight internet control.
This is, of course, not only a a problem for members of the EU Chamber of Commerce, it’s also a problem for the Chinese public and private sector, in whose lives and endeavors the internet restrictions are a constant.